Jason Vargas has a torn elbow ligament, so Royals recall Yordano Ventura one day after demotion

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Yesterday the Royals demoted Opening Day starter Yordano Ventura to Triple-A and replaced him in the rotation with Jason Vargas, who was activated from the disabled list.

Vargas then exited last night’s start with an elbow injury, which the Royals now say is a torn ulnar collateral ligament (also known as the Tommy John surgery injury). So they’ve recalled Ventura from Triple-A, where he presumably hadn’t actually had a chance to arrive yet.

Last offseason Vargas signed a four-year, $32 million deal with the Royals as a free agent and he’s pitched about as well as could have been expected with a 3.76 ERA in 39 starts, but Tommy John surgery could knock him out of action until 2017.

It seems all but guaranteed that the Royals will be acquiring some level of rotation help between now and the July 31 trade deadline, with some speculation that they could be looking to make a big, top-of-the-rotation splash.

Yasmani Grandal signs a four-year, $73 million deal with the White Sox

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The first truly big free agent signing of the offseason has gone down: the Chicago White Sox just announced that they have signed catcher Yasmani Grandal to a four-year, $73 million deal.

Grandal, 31, was the best catcher available in free agency. He is coming off a fine year with the Milwaukee Brewers, with whom he had to settle for a one-year pact in 2019. He hit .246/.380/.468 with 28 homers and 77 driven in. It was his fourth straight season with 20+ homers. While his catching has been criticized due to some high-profile mistakes in the postseason, the two-time All-Star once again proved himself to be one of the best pitch-framers in the game if not the best. Between the bat and the glove he has a claim to being one of the best all-around catchers in baseball.

The signing leaves open the question of what happens to James McCann, who was himself an All-Star this year. It’s not that hard a question, of course, as Grandal is a far superior catcher to McCann in every respect. The Sox could make McCann a backup. Alternatively, they could try to trade him to fill other holes on the roster.

The White Sox finished 72-89 in 2019 but are showing signs of coming out of rebuilding mode and into contention mode. This signing pushes them a big step into that direction.